I sometimes envy the creatures that I see around me. They live such a simple and easy life! No studies, no targets, no deadlines; overall, no worries! I would give anything to exchange a few days with these unsophisticated animals.

Scaly-breasted Munia in breeding plumage

A Scaly Breasted Munia in Breeding Plumage

I have been observing pairs of Scaly-breasted Munias collecting nesting material in the resort premises. They carefully select grass blades, rejecting some on the basis of length, thickness and other grounds known only to them.

Scaly breasted Munia collecting nesting material

Collecting Nesting Material

The grass blades are cut and carried back to the nests using their ‘scissors-cum-carry-bag’ beaks. The birds then go on to weave the grass blades into globular nests. This is a difficult task, considering there are no ‘hands’ at your disposal. I have noticed that more than half the blades fall down while the birds are trying to pin them to their nests.

A single nest may easily contain a few hundred grass blades, and I am sure the birds collect more than double the number during the process of building their nests.

However, while doing this, the small songsters have to find food and eat enough every day as they need the energy to continue doing the hard work. Also, they have to keep an eye on predators, simply to stay alive. Additionally, they need to stay close to their nesting sites to prevent other birds from taking over their nests. And all this has to be synchronized with Mother Nature’s events, so that they lay eggs and raise young while insects and seeds are in plentiful supply. Not such a simple life, after all, huh?